As I understand it, a general rule of thumb is that if you want people to do more of something with software, make it easier to do.
One activity that is important for communities is making it easy for people to create posts.
I’d like to recommend a feature - perhaps it is optional - that enables a large “Start a post” composer box on the community homepage. Here’s a mockup:
Admins could configure a default Category for these posts. In my community, for instance, we have a catch-all Category called “Ask My Question” that would work perfectly.
I understand there are probably a lot of complexities (when do they enter a title for their post, etc.). But, I think those are worth working out for the sake of making it easier for non-technical participants to easily create new posts.
For context, and hopefully not counter-productive to my suggestion, is that this functionality is strongly supported by most other social media platforms.
Could you provide some examples?
On Facebook for example I need to enter a group or page before I can create a post there.
Which platforms take the opposite approach?
I’ve read it here that they want to make it hard enough to post to encourage people to read first (no doubt an imperfect summary).
Just found the topic I must have been thinking about. It was about replies but I imagine the same approach would apply to new topics.
Most platforms it defaults to post on your profile.
Circle has a compose post window at the top of the page.
I understand. However, if no one posts, then there’s nothing to read.
I wonder how much, if anything, is compromised by empowering local communities to choose the balance they want here.
Twitter clearly does, for example.
There might be a quantity vs quality trade off, here.
There could be. Why not let each community work that balance out for themselves?
Twitter doesn’t have categories- you’re only posting in one place, no? Is that a fair analog for Discourse?
It depends on the kind of community. There are many thousands of Discourse instances. For some, making posting easy makes Discourse more valuable.
i don’t understand this. i get lots of posts on my forum via the very obvious new topic button and the many reply buttons. perhaps another means to attract new forum membership? you’re saying your forum isn’t active because there is no big post text box front and centre?
It isn’t what you asked
I often see you oppose all ideas. Just for the sake of opposition, it sometimes seems to me
Now that you got answers, you change the questions to continue the opposition
OP specifically addressed the category point and his whole rationale
You don’t like his idea? That’s fine and your right. Maybe try to develop a little why, then
posting IS easy. you keep implying that it is not, which i disagree with. i don’t see how you can equate the existing very easy to post layout to lack of forum activity. the buttons are obvious.
you could always try to make theme component or plug-in (or get someone to do it for you) to suit your needs, if you really must have this.
It is easy.
However, making it 5-20% easier is still a win.
There’s a reason a huge text box, ready for your next post, is common across global social media platforms. It reduces the friction to participate in a conversation.
Also, not everyone is a Discourse power user or a developer. I suggest that most people are accustomed to the UX of Facebook.
The bigger “Start a post” mock-up might be a little space-consuming but easier to the eye.
Once you get the muscle memory, you will easily figure it out the way it is.
Changing it could result in regular user’s muscle memories being a bit jammed up.
But, I gotta say that it is pleasing to new users.
However, the mock-up misses the category and tag selector, so maybe it may cause issues?
Maybe in future something like ChatGPT will do that for us!
Possibly adding those is helpful for some forums.
My suggestion is to make those default settings for the sake of simplicity.
Discourse is a big project, but not all features should be added to the core.
Discourse’s rich extensibility allows you to develop theme components or plugins to solve any problem you can think of - so why not make it an extension part, but make it a core function that everyone comes with?
I agree. For example, I like the search box to be centered of the header, like all normal platforms. But I’m not asking to add this to core, as there is a plugin for this:
This is just the case
Thanks, everyone, for the comments. It’s humbling but helpful to hear the feedback. I appreciate the candor; thank you again.
My main takeaway is to focus more on the psychological reasons people participate in our community rather than the technological ones. I need to sharpen the ‘why’ for participating.
Second, if anyone else sees the discussion and is interested in sharing the development costs of this feature as a theme component or plugin, please contact me with your budget.
Third, I’ll continue to cross my fingers that this gets added to the official roadmap. That’s always going to be the best kind of support and functionality for it to be integrated into the platform.
This discussion prompted me to look at a wide variety of platforms. It’s pretty standard for there to be a large area for creating a post - front and center!
I have my criticisms of these platforms. But, in one of the most prominent parts of their design, they feature the creation of new content. So I think it’s reasonable to propose that Discourse consider this functionality as well.
This is created for microblogging and is not suitable for creating new topics. If you want a big button on the main page, then you can do it using CSS. You can make it any size, even shimmering
yes this. or for telling your friends what your current thoughts are.
if you’re wondering why your forum isn’t active enough, i suggest it has little to do with a big posting text box right front and center. forum content and reaching your target user group are more likely factors.